Reader's Story - June 2012
The day it all went right by Kerry BosKERRY BOS
Tuesday, September 19, proved to be a red-letter day for me.
My mate Mike called about 11am and hassled me to go out for a fish. Always up for it, I hesitated for half a second before starting to get my little Stabi' 389 Matt Watson Special sorted.
First priority were my rods, including two 3kg braid rigs (an overhead for slow-jigs and a spin for soft-baits), a 4kg soft-bait outfit and, forever hopeful, the 37kg jig gear.
Trying to decide where to go from home in Silverdale, we considered Omaha, as we'd heard there was some action up that way, but two previous trips had not produced anything spectacular. Fortunately, Mike had also heard of some action locally in Whangaparaoa Bay, so after fuelling up we launched at Hadfields Beach, before setting off in search of fun and food.
Not too far from the ramp we started to see gannets sitting on the water; they were spread over a large area, but not feeding.
However, after continuing on for a few minutes and reading the bottom as we went, I started to see patches of sign, which became bigger, and then caused me to stop and set up a drift.
Out went the sea anchor and down went the lures, with Mike quickly dropping a slow-jig and then casting out his soft-bait, while I deployed my new slow-jig outfit, and immediately (to Mike's disgust) hooked into a nice snapper around 3kg. Wicked - on my new rod, first drop! Yeehaa!
After removing the fish I again dropped my slow-jig to the bottom, and decided to place the outfit in a rod holder while I rigged my favourite soft-bait outfit, a 2.3m (7'6") Shimano Starlo Stik with a 3000 Saros reel filled with 3kg Berkley Fireline.
Because we were over sand, I decided to attach a 15lb fluorocarbon trace to my pre-tied bimini twist double, while a Z-Man soft-bait was slipped onto the half-ounce jig head.
This was cast well forward of the boat, and I watched the line as my lure drifted towards the bottom - but the soft-bait was hit before it could do so, and I immediately set the hook.
Line started to peel off big-time. "Good fish!" I grunted, and as I wound up the drag, so did the fish, heading off fast on a very big run.
"THIS IS A REALLY BIG FISH!"
And it ran again. How much drag dare I exert? I cautiously applied a little more drag pressure, and to my relief I slowly started to gain line.
By this time I had more than grabbed Mike's attention, and he was on standby with the net. The fight continued - I got some line and the fish got it back. It became a stalemate with the fish about six metres below the boat; I would get a glimpse and then it would power away again.
About this time Mike hooked into a snapper (a bloody tiddler!) on his slow-jig, and I got worried that this would #%$@ me up. Also, my fish had towed us backwards, which caused the sea anchor to sink, and I was worried it might tangle my line when the fish was brought in closer. I needed to do something, so very nervously I wound my drag up another quarter-turn - and was instantly rewarded with another good run!
But this proved to be her last effort; the fight had turned and I was I control. I just had to get it to the boat.
After just managing to keep the fish from the sea anchor, I watched with my heart in my mouth as Mike slid the net under a beautifully lip-hooked and exhausted fish. I was now nervous of the net, as this was a huge snapper, so I slid my arms under it too and lifted the fish into the boat.
Weighing 22.35lb (10.13kg), the celebrations were raucous. Wow, not only my biggest fish ever, but also - after 45 years of fishing - I'd finally got my dream fish over 20lb!
- © Fairfax NZ News